Honokohau Beach, Hawaii

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on Hawaii’s Kona coast offers a unique blend of nature and history along its scenic coastal trails. Spend a day immersed in native Hawaiian culture while exploring this rugged lava landscape from various trailhead options.

Three Trailheads Lead to Discovery

The first trailhead starts at the Ho’okipa Welcome Center, the park’s main visitor center. From here, connect to the shoreline trail that winds along the coast, leading you past fishponds and Honokōhau Harbor. Scan the winter horizon for humpback whales!

Another trailhead is located off Kaloko Road, allowing you to explore the large Kaloko fishpond and view remnants of an ancient Hawaiian settlement. Follow the uneven path, visualizing life for the early Hawaiians.

The third trailhead option begins the adventure at Honokōhau Harbor. Take a short walk to the coastal trail that opens up to secluded coves and wide views of Kealakekua Bay. Time the tides to discover small beaches for swimming and picnicking below the cliffs.

Discover Hawaii’s Past and Present

No matter where your journey begins, you’ll encounter vestiges of both old and new Hawaii. Massive fishponds built by Hawaiians hundreds of years ago remain intact, demonstrating advanced engineering capabilities. Spot remnants of sluice gates used to control water flow.

The trails also connect fishing communities past and present, from the quaint village of Miloli’i to the modern Honokōhau Harbor. Compare grass shacks to houseboats and throw nets to pole fishing while listening to tales from today’s fishermen.

Rugged Lava Contrasts with Beach Oases

Hawaii’s natural diversity shines along the trails, shifting from rough lava flows to smooth kiawe forests to picturesque beaches. Watch your step on uneven terrain while enjoying sweeping coastal views. Remember sun protection as you traverse exposed lava!

The beach, like many Big Island beaches, can be rocky and rugged.  This makes entering the water tricky in most spots. Along the south end, there is a sandier area that is a little softer on the feet. The water doesn’t get very deep within the area between the beach and the fishponds.

Linger at Sunset

Time your hike so you end at Honokōhau Harbor in time to watch the sunset over the Kona coastline. As you walk north along the coast you will lose count of the number of sea turtles that are snacking on in the waves. Relax as you watch them peacefully making their way to shore for the night.

Honokohau beach honu

Return Again and Again

One day is not enough to soak up all that Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park has to share. Come back at different times of day and seasons of the year to experience the contrasts. Wander different trail combinations to uncover new gems hidden along this special coastline steeped in Hawaiian cultural heritage.

The Adventure Continues at Honokōhau

As you wander along the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park coast, you’ll walk past beaches, boat harbors, fishponds, lava fields, and scenic lookouts. If you love history and hiking as much as we do, you’ll want to plan a walk back in time along the unique 4-mile trail found within this park.

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian history while also enjoying the island’s perfect weather and picturesque setting. 

So what are you waiting for? Lace up your hiking shoes, pack a big picnic, and head out to create your own adventure through history and nature at Honokōhau!

Looking for accommodations in the area? Check availability here

The Big Island of Hawaii is a true food lover’s paradise. From the island’s bountiful farms and orchards to its talented chefs putting creative twists on traditional Hawaiian cuisine, there is something to tantalize every palate. Here are a few of our Big Island Restaurant Picks, and markets that visitors must experience to truly appreciate the diverse flavors of the Big Island.

A few of our Big Island Restaurant Picks

Dining with a view of majestic volcanoes or crashing waves is easy to find on the Big Island. Some restaurants not to miss include:

Ocean view with the Coffee Shack restaurant

The Coffee Shack 

Known as one of the best places for breakfast south of Kona, this roadside cafe impresses foodies with its menu of breakfast bowls, acai smoothies, avocado toast and more. Sip an iced latte on the deck overlooking the lush Kona coast. Line up early. It’s worth the wait!

Sunset Kai Lanai

This newly renovated (and new ownership) open-air restaurant is perched just steps from a picturesque west Hawaii sunset viewpoint. Visitors rave about the fresh poke, seared ahi and killer mai tais while taking in the dramatic coastal views. Save room for the Key Lime Pie.

Merriman’s

Top chef Peter Merriman sources over 90% of his ingredients from local Hawaiian farms. His signature wok charred Ahi tuna and Molokai sweet potato gnocchi are standouts at his Waimea restaurant. Eat inside or outside under the stars.

 

Markets Bursting with Tropical Flavors

From colorful farmers markets to food trucks dishing out local specialties, the Big Island offers plenty of tasty and affordable options for trying authentic Hawaiian foods.

Pure Kona Green Markets

Every Sunday, local farmers and food artisans sell fresh produce, baked goods, coffee, chocolate and prepared foods. Look for lilikoi butter, guava jam, tropical fruit popsicles, live music, and more. 

Cook’s Bounty Fruitstand

Any day of the week you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, honey, coconuts, juices and more. Since the big farmer’s markets are typically only open one day a week, this fruit stand in Captain Cook has saved the day many, many times. They don’t have a website but they have an address!

Check here for more great food spots

 

Learning to Surf in the Birthplace of the Sport

Imagine this: you’re paddling out into the crystal-clear waters of Kona, Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing. The sun warms your skin, the salty breeze whips through your hair, and the rhythmic roar of the waves crashes against the volcanic cliffs. You pop up on your surfboard, feeling the ocean’s power beneath your feet, and for a fleeting moment, you’re dancing with the very spirit of aloha.

 

Learning to surf in Kona is more than just a vacation activity; it’s a cultural immersion. Hawaiians have been riding waves for centuries, perfecting the art of bodysurfing and longboarding generations before the sport spread across the globe. Their deep connection to the ocean and respect for its power infuse every aspect of surfing here.

That’s why, when learning to surf in Kona, it’s always best to go local. Local instructors not only possess a wealth of experience and knowledge about the island’s diverse surf breaks, but they also carry the aloha spirit in their hearts. They’ll teach you with patience, understanding, and a genuine desire to share their passion for the sport.

Kona Hawaii surf lessons

One such place that embodies this local spirit is Kahalu’u Bay Surf & Sea. Nestled alongside the picturesque Kahalu’u Bay, a protected marine sanctuary known for its gentle waves and abundant marine life, Kahalu’u Bay Surf & Sea offers lessons for surfers of all levels.

View of surfing area in Kahalu'u Bay

Their team of certified instructors, many of whom are kama’aina, are passionate about sharing their love of surfing and the ocean. They’ll guide you through the fundamentals, from paddling and popping up to riding and maneuvering your board. They’ll also instill in you respect for the ocean’s power and the importance of protecting its delicate ecosystem.

Kahalu’u Bay Surf & Sea, Kona Hawaii

Learning to surf in Kona isn’t just about catching waves; it’s about becoming part of a vibrant community. You’ll share smiles and high fives with fellow surfers, swap stories with friendly locals, and soak up the laid-back island vibe. By the end of your experience, you’ll leave with not only newfound skills but also a deep appreciation for Hawaiian culture and the magic of riding the waves.

So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, ditch the guidebooks and head to Kona. Let the local instructors of Kahalu’u Bay Surf & Sea be your guides, and prepare to experience the thrill of catching your first wave in the birthplace of surfing. Mahalo!

Here are some additional tips for learning to surf in Kona:

  • Choose the right time of year. The summer months (May to September) tend to have calmer waves, making them ideal for beginners. However, the winter months (October to April) offer bigger waves for experienced surfers.
  • Be patient. Learning to surf takes time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch a wave right away. Just keep paddling and practicing, and eventually, you’ll find your rhythm.
  • Respect the ocean. The ocean is a powerful force. Always be aware of your surroundings and your limitations. Never surf alone, and be sure to follow the instructions of your instructor.
  • Be sure to wear reef-safe sunscreen. Check this list of reef-safe sunscreens and consider buying a Hawaiian-made brand online or when you arrive. Kokua Sun Care and Little Hands Hawai’i are two personal favorites.
  • Have fun! Surfing is a blast. So relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the ride.

With a little preparation and the right guidance, your Kona surfing experience will be one you’ll never forget. So grab your board, hit the waves, and aloha from Kona!

When you a ready to kick back and relax check out these great beaches!

Experience the vibrant pulse of Kona in February with an array of exciting events that promise to captivate your senses. From the enchanting Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival and Chinese New Year celebrations to the thrilling Panaewa Stampede Rodeo and the creative haven of SOKO’s Artists Studio Tour, Kona is a hub of cultural richness and diverse experiences. Get inspired at the Living & Design Expo, take a leisurely stroll through the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll, and embrace the weekly Hawaiian music and hula shows. Join us on a journey through the heart of Kona’s February festivities, where tradition meets contemporary allure.

Kona February Events

February 3: Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, 9:00 am-3:00 pm

Experience Japanese performing arts, a traditional tea ceremony, bonsai demonstrations, and food from local vendors at Parker Ranch Center. Waimea is always a beautiful day trip from Kona. For more information click here.

Chinese New Year Celebrations: Celebrate the Year of the Dragon!

February 10 in Honoka’a

Enjoy food trucks, local vendors, and paper lantern making, and don’t miss the Professional Lion Dance by Yau Gong Lion Dancers

February 17, 2024, at Queen’s Marketplace, Waikoloa Beach Resort

Enjoy live entertainment and food around the shops and take the opportunity to feed the Chinese Lion for good fortune

February 17-18: Panaewa Stampede Rodeo  

Panaewa Stampede Rodeo in Hilo brings together the ranching community and spectators for an exciting two day event!

February 24-25: SOKO 9th Annual Artists Studio Tour

Don’t miss the 9th Annual Artists Studio Tour of the South Kona Artists Collective. On Saturday, Feb 24th, and Sunday, Feb 25th 21 artists at 13 locations are participating. See demonstrations and purchase art directly from the artists and stop along the way for Kona coffee and lunch. Take a look at a preview of the beautiful art to be enjoyed here

February 24-25: 17th Annual Living & Design Expo

Feb 24, 9-5 and Feb 25 9-2 at the Outrigger Kona Resort, Keauhou. Join us for Hawai’i Island’s finest home expo. Exhibitors will include Cabinetry and Kitchen, HVAC, Home Office, General Contracting and more.

Dragon at a Chinese New Year Celebration

Ongoing Events

Kokua Kailua Village Stroll: Feb 18

Once a month, on Alii Drive near the Pier, the street is closed for the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll. From 1-6 pm, the street transforms into a bustling market with local vendors and artists’ booths. Explore the vibrant stalls, shop for unique crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Leashed dogs are also welcome, so feel free to bring your furry friends along for the stroll. This event is a perfect opportunity to support local businesses and artists while immersing yourself in the lively spirit of Kailua-Kona.

Free Hawaiian Music and Hula Show

Every Friday at Keauhou Shopping Center, you can enjoy a free Hawaiian music and hula show in the center courtyard from 6-7pm. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Hawai’i as talented musicians and graceful hula dancers take the stage. This weekly event is a fantastic opportunity to experience the beauty and artistry of traditional Hawaiian music and dance.

First Friday After Dark in Holualoa

On the first Friday of every month, the quaint village of Holualoa comes alive with a block party. From 5:30-8:30pm, locals and visitors gather to explore the town’s art galleries and boutiques, listen to live music, and indulge in gourmet “grab and go” food. This festive event is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local art and culture scene while enjoying the warm hospitality of the community.

 

Visit Queen’s Marketplace for more ongoing events 

Join ukulele lessons, Wednesday hula shows, and outdoor movies every month.
February 10, 2024 is the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus in the Coronation Pavilion.

 

More to come in March!

The 29th Annual Kona Brewers Festival will be held Saturday, March 9, 2024, from 3 pm – 7 pm.  Buy your tickets here

 

Looking for a place to stay? Check out what we have available for your dates.

Yes, it is possible to take a day trip from Kona to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, plan for a long day as the park is located on the eastern side of the Big Island, and Kona is on the western side. Many people fit VNP in midweek as the BIG DAY of driving in between beach and relaxing days. Depending on traffic and road conditions, the drive can take approximately 2.5 to 3 hours one way.

Alternatively, consider staying overnight in the Hilo area or near the national park if you have the flexibility. This would allow you more time to explore the park without the time constraints of a day trip.

Always check for any updates or advisories before embarking on your trip, as conditions and recommendations may change.

 Lava flowing down hillside

You can drive clockwise or counterclockwise around the island. I like to drive counterclockwise so the after-dark driving is through the middle on Saddle Road rather than the winding narrow Hwy 11/Mamalahoa Hwy. Fuel up with a quick breakfast at Kaya’s Coffee in Kealakekua before cruising southeast on Highway 11. The coffee is great and the food is delicious. Just in time for a bathroom break and a malasada, you’ll arrive at the famous Punulu’u Bake Shop.  

Be sure to pull over at the picturesque Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, where volcanic sand glistens against the turquoise ocean. There is a very good chance you’ll see some turtles feeding on the rocks or basking in the sun.

Upon arrival at Volcanoes National Park, your exploration begins at the Kilauea Visitor Center. Gather updates on volcanic activity and trail conditions, then embark on a scenic drive along Crater Rim Drive with stops at Steam Vents and Sulphur Banks.

Next, take a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, a formed lava tunnel offering a glimpse into the heart of a volcano. Refuel with a picnic lunch within the park, enjoying the fresh air and stunning surroundings.

In the afternoon, take a drive down Chain of Craters Road, a mesmerizing journey through volcanic landscapes. Stop at various points of interest, like the Kilauea Iki Overlook, and consider a hike into the Kīlauea Iki Crater. It is a steep beginning and ending but for the experience of walking through a solidified lava lake, it’s worth it. 

Check the National Park Service for lava activity. If there is activity it is worth it to stya overnight in the area and come back after dark.  Watch molten lava bubbling into the lava lake after sunset. Another sight you will never forget. 

If you’re waiting for sunset to see the lava or want to eat before heading back to Kona, The Rim restaurant in Volcano House is a lovely choice. Before you sit down check out views of the crater and park and the cozy chairs by the fireplace.

Remember to check for updates on volcanic activity or road closures before your trip, and pack snacks, lots of water, and sunscreen, as services within the park are limited. Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes, and don’t forget a light jacket for the cool evening air.

This itinerary is just a suggestion, and you can tailor it to your interests and available time. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a curious first-timer, a day trip to Volcanoes National Park from Kona promises an unforgettable experience filled with volcanic wonders and breathtaking beauty.

So, pack your bags, lace up your shoes, and get ready to embark on an adventure you’ll never forget!

Another stop on the Hilo side is Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden. Immerse yourself in the contrasts of the island by going from the lava lake to a tropical forest

Eco-Adventures in Kona and the Big Island beckon with the allure of volcanic landscapes, lush rainforests, and vibrant coral reefs. Beyond the postcard beauty, the region is increasingly embracing ecotourism, a transformative shift towards responsible exploration and the conservation of the islands’ natural splendor. This movement represents a recognition of the delicate balance between catering to the growing tourism industry and preserving the unique ecosystems that define the region. Travelers are drawn to Eco-Adventures in Kona and the Big Island, seeking to explore responsibly and contribute to the sustainability of these captivating environments.

 

Fourspot Butterflyfish

Ecotourism Activities:

  • KapohoKine Adventures:
    • This adventure company offers guided hikes, kayak tours, and cultural experiences led by native guides.
    • Actively involved in conservation efforts, KapohoKine Adventures educates visitors on protecting the island’s ecosystems.
    • Travelers can engage in activities that foster a deeper connection with the local environment.
  • Hawaii Forest & Trail:
    • Explore diverse landscapes with knowledgeable guides who prioritize responsible tourism practices.
    • The company offers waterfall hikes, volcano tours, and snorkeling adventures, all designed to minimize environmental impact.
    • Participants gain insights into the island’s ecology and conservation efforts.
  • Kona Coffee Tours:
    • Visit small, sustainable coffee farms that prioritize organic practices and fair trade.
    • Learn about the island’s rich coffee culture while supporting local farmers.
    • Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Kona coffee, experiencing the sustainable side of agriculture.

 

Malama Ka Aina painted on a lava rock wall

Responsible Tourist Tips:

  • Choose Reef-Safe Sunscreen:
    • When exploring the vibrant coral reefs surrounding the Big Island, it’s crucial to consider the impact of sunscreen on marine life. 
    • Opt for reef-safe sunscreen formulations to protect your skin without introducing harmful chemicals into the ocean. This small choice contributes to the well-being of the underwater ecosystems, ensuring that your visit leaves no trace and supports the ongoing efforts to maintain the health of the coral reefs.
    • Our Great Spots for Snorkeling in Hawai’i article has a link to great reef-safe sunscreens.
  • Minimize Waste:
    • Encourages travelers to use reusable water bottles, bags, and utensils to reduce single-use plastics.
    • Support businesses with recycling programs to contribute to waste reduction efforts.
  • Respect Cultural Sites:
    • Advises dressing modestly when visiting sacred places and seeking permission before taking photos.
    • Encourages learning basic Hawaiian phrases to show respect for the local culture.
  • Support Local Businesses:
    • Recommends opting for locally owned restaurants, shops, and tour operators to contribute directly to the community and preserve cultural traditions.
  • Leave No Trace:
    • Emphasizes the importance of packing out what you bring in and avoiding littering.
    • Encourages mindfulness towards wildlife and marine life, advocating against touching or removing coral.

Additional Tips:

  • Choose Direct Flights:
    • Suggests selecting direct flights to reduce carbon footprint compared to connecting flights.
  • Offset Carbon Emissions:
    • Recommends supporting renewable energy projects to offset travel emissions through various organizations.
  • Travel Slowly:
    • Encourages immersive exploration in each destination rather than rushing through multiple places.
    • This approach allows for a deeper appreciation of the local culture and environment.

Mālama ‘Āina

By following these ecotourism principles and embracing sustainable choices, travelers can enjoy an unforgettable and responsible vacation in Kona and the Big Island. The provided tips not only enhance the travel experience but also contribute to the preservation of the islands’ precious ecosystems. The Big Island’s shift towards ecotourism signifies a harmonious blend of exploration and conservation, where responsible tourism becomes a catalyst for the enduring beauty of this magical destination. 

Mahalo (thank you) for choosing responsible travel and helping to uphold the spirit of Aloha.

A Hawaiian getaway is a dream for many, but the allure of the islands often comes with a hefty price tag, prompting savvy travelers to explore alternative accommodation options. For cost-conscious choices, Hawai’i vacation home cost savings are a solid choice compared to traditional hotels. Let’s compare two options in  Kailua-Kona, where the comparison between renowned hotels and a 2-bed/2-bath fully equipped vacation home reveals surprising disparities in costs. We’ll also review additional considerations, highlighting the spaciousness, privacy, and unique amenities that make vacation rentals an enticing option. Join us on this exploration of how opting for a vacation home not only stretches your dollar further but also promises a more personalized and immersive Hawaiian experience.

Hawai’i vacation home cost savings

  • If, like many travelers, your first consideration is cost, let’s look at one cost comparison of a few brand name hotels vs a 2 bed/2 bath fully equipped vacation home both in Kailua-Kona. A simple search on a popular booking website gives us these results. 
  • Consider a vacation where four adults share a double queen hotel room during the first week of March. The price range is between $2493 and $4796, exclusive of taxes and fees. This also excludes the hotels in the $6000+ range for the week. 
  •  In contrast, opting for a 2-bed/2-bath fully equipped condo has a total price of $1884.
  • Remember, the booking sites won’t show you all the additional charges like taxes until the last step. A local vacation home rental company may also have additional discounts.

 

Other Considerations

  • More Space:
    • Vacation rentals often provide more square footage than hotel rooms, giving you ample space to move around comfortably.
    • This extra space is particularly beneficial for families with children who need room to play or for larger groups traveling together.
  • Privacy:
    • Vacation rentals offer a level of seclusion that hotels may not provide. You won’t have to worry about noisy neighbors in adjacent rooms or disruptions from hotel activities.
    • Enjoy the freedom of having the entire property to yourselves, allowing for a more intimate and private vacation experience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness:
    • Renting a vacation home can be more cost-effective, especially for longer stays or when traveling with a group. The ability to prepare your own meals in a fully-equipped kitchen can significantly reduce food expenses.
    • Many vacation rentals have laundry facilities, saving on additional costs related to laundry services or packing extra clothes.
  • Home-like Feel:
    • Vacation rentals often emulate a home-like atmosphere with living rooms, dining areas, and bedrooms, providing a sense of comfort and familiarity.
    • Enjoy the convenience of a fully furnished space, often including amenities like a TV, entertainment systems, and sometimes even books or board games.
  • Unique Amenities:
    • Vacation rentals frequently come with unique amenities that set them apart from hotels. This can include private pools, hot tubs, game rooms, and outdoor spaces for barbecues or relaxation.
    • Tailor your vacation experience by choosing a rental that aligns with your interests and preferences: a beachfront property, a cabin in the mountains, or a city loft.
  • Things to Consider:
    • Location: Ensure the vacation rental is conveniently located relative to your planned activities and attractions.
    • Booking Platforms: Use reputable vacation rental websites or agencies to secure your accommodation and read reviews from previous guests.
    • Communication: Establish clear communication with the property owner or manager for a smooth check-in/out process and to address any concerns during your stay.

Ultimately:

  • Consider the nature of your trip, the size of your group, and your specific preferences.
  • Evaluate the overall costs, including hidden fees and cleaning charges.
  • Assess the level of service you desire, as hotels may offer amenities like daily housekeeping.
  • Balance the convenience of hotel services with the independence and unique experience of vacation rentals.

Ultimately, choosing between a vacation rental and a hotel hinges on your priorities. Although cost isn’t the only factor, a vacation home can save on costs as well as offering a personalized and tailored experience for your Hawaiian adventure.

 

Click here to see the property highlighted in this article.

Holualoa is a charming town located on the slopes of Hualalai volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. While it is a small town, there are several activities and attractions that visitors can enjoy in and around Holualoa:

Here are a few of our favorite Holualoa Hawaii attractions:

Visit Art Galleries

 Holualoa is renowned for its vibrant arts community, and the town is home to several art galleries showcasing the work of local artists. Explore the numerous art galleries featuring local artists and their works. The town’s artistic atmosphere is a result of its rich coffee culture and the presence of talented residents.

Tropical plants taking over old home

  • Ipu Arts Plus: Specializing in gourd art, Ipu Arts Plus is a unique gallery that showcases the traditional Hawaiian art of crafting and decorating gourds. Visitors can find intricately designed pieces that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the islands.
  • Donkey Mill Art Center: While not a traditional gallery, the Donkey Mill Art Center is a community art space that often hosts exhibitions, workshops, and events. It’s a place where local artists and the community come together to celebrate and create art.
  • Holualoa Ukulele Gallery: This gallery combines art with music by featuring handmade ukuleles crafted by local artisans. Visitors can explore the gallery and appreciate the skill and craftsmanship that goes into making these traditional Hawaiian instruments.

Game table at Puuhonua o Honaunau

Coffee Farm Tours

Holualoa is part of the Kona Coffee Belt, and you can find several coffee farms in the area. Consider taking a coffee farm tour to learn about the coffee-making process, from cultivation to roasting. Some farms offer tastings where you can sample different varieties of Kona coffee.

  • Greenwell Farms: Greenwell Farms is one of the well-known coffee farms in the Kona region, including Holualoa. They offer guided tours that take visitors through the coffee orchards, processing facilities, and roasting areas. You can learn about the history of Kona coffee and the various stages of production. Free samples in the coffee shack!
  • Holualoa Kona Coffee Company: This family-owned coffee farm in Holualoa provides guided tours that offer insights into the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of Kona coffee. Visitors may also have the opportunity to taste different coffee varieties. Check the website to be sure tours are available on your dates.
  • Hula Daddy Kona Coffee: While not in Holualoa itself but relatively close, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, located in Kailua-Kona, offers informative tours of their coffee farm. The tours cover the entire coffee-making process, from planting to roasting, and include tastings of their premium coffees.

More Holualoa Hawaii attractions in the area

Stroll through the historic Holualoa Village and enjoy its unique shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The town has a laid-back atmosphere, and it’s a great place to explore on foot.

  • Hiking and Nature: While not directly in Holualoa, the surrounding areas offer opportunities for hiking and exploring nature. Hualalai volcano has hiking trails, and the Holualoa area provides scenic views of the coastline.
  • Attend Events and Festivals: Check if there are any local events or festivals taking place during your visit. Holualoa often hosts community events that showcase the town’s culture and creativity.
  • Keauhou Bay: While not far from Holualoa, Keauhou Bay offers opportunities for water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. It’s a picturesque spot with historical significance.
  • Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park: Located a bit further south, this historical park is worth a visit. It was a place of refuge in ancient times and offers a glimpse into Hawaiian history and culture.

Remember to check for any specific events or activities happening during your visit, as the town’s atmosphere can be influenced by local festivals and gatherings. Holualoa is a great destination for those seeking a mix of art, culture, and outdoor exploration on the Big Island of Hawaii.

 

Looking for a place near Holualoa to stay? Check out this beautiful home with 180-degree views of the ocean!

Whale watching in Kona, Hawaii is an absolutely magical experience! Kona, located on the Big Island, is known for its stunning coastline and warm waters, making it an ideal spot to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.

Humpback Whales

Humpback whales are the stars of the show, and you can often see them breaching, tail-slapping, and even singing their underwater tunes. The peak season for whale watching in Hawaii is generally from December to April when these gentle giants migrate to the warm Hawaiian waters for mating and calving.

Whale Watching Tours

Several tour operators in Kona offer whale-watching excursions, taking you out on the sparkling blue waters for an up-close encounter with these majestic marine mammals. Imagine the thrill of seeing a massive humpback leaping out of the water or witnessing a playful pod of dolphins dancing alongside the boat.

Body Glove Hawaii not only has a great reputation but is fully committed to sustainability and nurturing the environment.

We also like Wahine Charters who do Manta Ray dives as well as whale-watching tours. Past guests rave about the amazing experience!

Humpback Whale Air Spout

Dolphin Watching

 

Hawaii is also a fantastic destination for dolphin enthusiasts, and there are several opportunities to witness these playful creatures in their natural habitat. Hawaii is home to spinner dolphins, known for their acrobatic spins and jumps. You can often find them swimming and breaching along the shore in the early morning hours. Watch for dolphins in the bay during your breakfast or your early morning walk for a delicious coffee at Kona Haven. Or relax on a bench at Pahoehoe Beach Park and just wait for them. 

If you are lucky enough to encounter dolphins while you are in the water, remember they are protected. Stay in one place, don’t chase them, and try to remember every beautiful moment of it!

If you’re just not ready to take a tour bring your binoculars! During the season you will almost certainly see whales from the shore. Keep your eyes open. Often the first thing you’ll see is a water spout when they come up to breathe.

Remember to bring your camera to capture these incredible moments, and keep an eye out for the breathtaking sunset views on your way back to the shore. It’s a memory-making experience you won’t soon forget! Enjoy the wonders of Kona and happy whale watching!

If you are hoping to spot whales or dolphins from your lanai check out this oceanfront vacation rentalA view of the ocean from the Lanai

The Big Island of Hawaii is the perfect place to take kids of all ages. What started off as a “Top Ten” list turned into a Top 14 because there is just so many family-friendly activities!

Dolphins Swimming

Here are 14 of the best things to do with kids.

Dolphins and Whale watching:

There is nothing like seeing a whale or dolphin in its own beautiful home. November through March take a boat tour to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Body Glove Hawaii not only has a great reputation but has fully committed to sustainability and nurturing the environment.

Whale Breaching

Take a Glass Bottom Boat Tour:

Explore the underwater world without getting wet by taking a glass-bottom boat tour. Kids can marvel at the colorful marine life and coral formations. Saltwater Soul Kona is right across from the Pier

Snorkel at Kahalu’u Beach Park:

Kahaluu Beach is known for its calm, clear waters, making it an ideal spot for kids to snorkel and observe colorful marine life. See more Great Spots for Snorkeling here.

Experience the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden:

Wander through lush gardens filled with exotic plants, flowers, and waterfalls at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, providing a peaceful and educational environment for families.

Try Ziplining:

For a thrilling adventure, consider a ziplining tour. There are several zipline courses on the island that cater to families, allowing kids to soar through the treetops. Remember to check the age and height restrictions for this to ensure they are suitable for your children. You don’t want to arrive only to find out Jr can’t do it!

Visit Volcanoes National Park:

Explore the fascinating volcanic landscape, walk through lava tubes, and witness the power of nature at Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Whether or not the lava is visible this is an amazing place.

Hike Akaka Falls State Park:AKAKA FALLS STATE PARK

Take an easy hike through the lush rainforest to see the stunning Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a gorge.

Stargazing at Mauna Kea Visitor Center:

Head to the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station for a family-friendly stargazing experience. Arrive before the sun sets to watch from above the clouds and stay to see more stars than you’ve ever seen before. The high elevation and clear skies offer excellent views of the night sky. Bring warm clothes. 

Explore Waipio Valley:

Take a guided tour to Waipio Valley, where you can enjoy the stunning views, learn about Hawaiian history, and maybe even ride horses along the valley floor. These are a couple of the local tour companies operating in Waipio Valley. Hawaii Tours and Waipio Valley Shuttle. Non-residents are only allowed into the valley with a local tour.

Discover Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park:

Learn about Hawaiian culture and history at this sacred site. Kids will love exploring the temples and walking through the reconstructed village.

Attend a Luau:

Experience Hawaiian culture through a family-friendly luau, where kids can enjoy traditional music, dance, and a delicious feast. Legends of Hawai’i at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort is a great show as is Voyageurs of the Pacific at the Royal Kona Resort.

Visit Panaewa Rainforest Zoo:

Explore the only rainforest zoo in the United States, home to a variety of animals, including monkeys, parrots, and a white Bengal tiger.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm: 

Learn about coffee cultivation and processing at this educational farm, where kids can take a tour and see coffee plants up close. Also Free Samples! 

Or just pick a beach and relax:

Spend a day at Hapuna Beach, one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches, with its white sands and clear waters. It’s a great place for family picnics, sandcastle building, and swimming.

Check out more picks for the Best Beaches in West Hawai’i